By Lillian Connors
As we are slowly but surely chipping away at the 21st century, the logistics of supply chains and all the challenges that come with this field are becoming overwhelmingly complex. It appears that, with the emergence of data analytics, complex computing and helpful tech, the matter should have become more manageable, but the case seems to be the opposite for one simple reason – at the end of the day it is all a question of escalation in the equation of supply and demand. With that in mind, here are some basic tips if you are interested in how a business can overcome supply chain challenges.
It’s all about people
Even though the internet of things has brought most of the management of logistical matters into the “cloud”, the human factor is the undeniable central cog of the supply chain setup. In fact, one can boldly say that the matter of qualified people is the be-all-end-all solution to all the matters related to supply chain challenges.
As a matter of fact, it is becoming very hard to find a hard-working, qualified talent for the job related to this area of industry exactly because technology is booming with the pace of geometrical progression. This means that the market value of truly qualified individuals is rising, and it is actually a good investment to hire them and completely avoid going for less educated but functional – in other words, “putting bodies” in the warehouse.
Setting up the space
When it comes to supply chains, warehouses are the pivotal area where most “magic” happens. In order to eliminate any risk of disastrous delays, the space has to be set up for maximum efficiency. Warehouse management needs to look into the latest technological advancements in the field of robotics and automation in order to supply their warehouses with enough models and, indeed, space, so workers can have breathing space and elbow room to work unhindered. Additionally, contemporary industrial shelving increases work efficiency, saves time, and reduces the costs.
It’s also about planning
However, well-ordered warehouses and top-notch vehicles are not all that’s needed for a well-lubricated supply chain machine. One also needs solid planning and good managerial decisions. Since the market is constantly changing, the best way to manage supply chains is to make the changes according to periodic assessments. This is also where a dirty secret about planning lies – while it is prudent to have a pipeline, it can be disastrous to adhere to it like it’s some sort of corporate dogma. Periodic assessments should dictate a course correction whenever it’s needed.
Costs need to be closely monitored and controlled
Increased supply and demand have also changed standards when it comes to delivery expectations – the time frames have become shortened to the breaking point. In such a neurotic market, hardly anyone pays close attention to energy and fuel costs, but these commodities are in short supply right now and the prices are skyrocketing. The best possible solution for this is to practice transparency when it comes to the supply chain itself – this will reveal the “weak spots” in terms of waste, and you can ameliorate the problem accordingly and efficiently.
Important relationships – customer service
Customer service makes or breaks businesses and they are the crux of supply chain management. As it has been mentioned before, the human factor is what makes the entire thing spinning. Making everyone happy in this dynamic is all about punctuality – everything needs to be delivered at the agreed time. Of course, this is not where the issue ends.
Since markets are becoming even more diverse on a monthly basis, every company that feeds into the supply chain needs to use the software tech to their advantage and follow all the information related to the product; the information which is one click away. In other words, right programs are the best solution for customer service challenges in supply chains today.
Solving any customer service related issues is not only about the relationship between the supplier and the retailer – it is also about the dynamics between the supplier and buyer. In fact, businesses that “cut off the middle man” when it comes to voicing preferences and related specifics tend to have the best and most favored supply chains. In other words, transparent communication is the key.
As it has been pointed out throughout the text above, the keyword of supply chain challenges is efficiency. Using all the tools at your disposal to increase the efficiency of working supply chains is what keeps the proper channels going. As the supply chains and all the dimensions of influence that keep it going become more intertwined and complex over time, the only solution is to keep the human factor tirelessly up to date when it comes to methods and tech that needs to be used. Proper training of the right people and careful planning will make all the difference in the world.